Best desktop computer deals for January 2022. How to get a good computer cheap

That’s right – with a few select upgrades, these Dell towers that litter office buildings around the world can actually make decent gaming kits. And your city is probably full of them, as schools and businesses often dispose of them in large batches.

Why you should buy cheap and often when looking for PCs

If you’ve had your PC for several years and want to replace it or add another one to your collection, should you buy a cheap PC or go crazy on an expensive one? It’s a tough decision.

The assortment of PCs and laptops is huge and there are dozens of suppliers. You have a choice, and prices range from a very cheap computer costing a few hundred (dollars or pounds, are all the same thing) to several thousand.

Buy the best

Let’s say you can afford a really good desktop or laptop computer, and for argument let’s say you have $ 2,000 to spend. The model you have purchased will have some pretty good components. It will have a fast processor, lots of memory, a large hard drive or super fast SSD, a high definition screen and so on.

The benefit of buying the best is that you are getting a very powerful computer that includes the latest technology. It’s great for work or play, and you can enjoy spreadsheets, games that run at high FPS, and it’s all fun.

The problem is, technology keeps changing and who knows when it will slow down. If you spend a lot of money on a new computer, you will have to make it run for a long time. But with each passing year, the technology gets older and after a few years it will start to look very ordinary.

That $ 2,000 computer after three or four years is not going to look so special. It will still work well, but it won’t be as spectacular as it was when it was new. After five or six years, it will be old technology that can be outdone by models that cost half the price.

In addition to quickly dating, an expensive computer that you keep for many years prevents you from keeping up with the latest technology. As new PCs and laptops come out, you’ll be stuck with your old model. You cannot take advantage of something new that appears.

If you’ve spent thousands on PC, don’t visit the hardware store. You will see new PCs and laptops with unusual, new and different specifications and you will not be able to take advantage of them. You’ll be stuck with your computer for the next few years.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 2 in 1

Hold on to your expensive PC for years to come and new ideas and technologies will bypass you like this Dell Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1 360 degree hinge. It is cheap too.

The CPU will be mainly responsible for making your overall use snappy. When you’re dealing with off-the-shelf PCs for under $ 500, you can expect to see older CPUs at the forefront, with fewer cores and threads than the more premium options.

Lenovo IdeaCentre 3 Desktop PC — $350, was $400

Lenovo IdeaCentre 3 desktop computer.

You don’t have to pay for a desktop computer that can handle your daily tasks. If you’re looking for a cheap one, this Lenovo IdeaCentre desktop is your best choice for under $ 400: The AMD Athlon Silver processor and 8GB of RAM are pretty basic, but still offer enough juice for everyday use, and 256GB gives you a nice combination of speed and decent storage space.

The set also includes a wired mouse and keyboard. Right now, you can get your hands on this cheap desktop computer at a super affordable price.

Beelink Mini PC with 8th generation Core i3 processor.

Declining slightly (but not raising the price) compared to standard desktops, the BeeLink mini PC is a great low-cost desktop with a small footprint. It includes an Intel Core i3 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a fast-loading 500 GB SSD. It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It also comes with two HDMI ports and supports 4K video output, so you can use it with more than one display if you’re the multitasking type. Its mounting bracket even allows you to attach it directly to the back of most monitors for a completely simplified setup. The only caveat is that you have to purchase peripherals separately (if you don’t already have them).

Apple’s new M1 chip is the powerhouse that brings AMD and Intel’s top chips, and is now available on compact Mac Mini desktops yet

Where to find your parts

You can find used cheap pc parts all over the web, but the best deals likely are in your area. I recommend hitting the sidewalk and finding local electronics recycling centers, office liquidators, and thrift stores – call them or visit them to see what their used computers and computer parts have. Alternatively, if you know people in local schools and businesses, ask them if their IT department wants to get rid of their old hardware.

Screenshot of Craiglist

This may be obvious, but you should always test your computer before donating any money. Whitson Gordon

This way, you will be able to find many of the components you need, but not necessarily all of them. To find anything you can’t find in the e-waste hub, search Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo, and other similar apps. You can also try eBay, but the platform has a much larger audience which means things are selling for a fair market price. But you buy the computer at the lowest budget possible, so the market price isn’t what you want: you need a local retailer who is willing to negotiate a killer deal just to get out of their hands. (You can even try and find free parts for your gaming PCs, but I wouldn’t bet too much on it – especially if you want things to be in decent working condition.)

Buying locally also allows you to test your equipment before donating your money. When negotiating a sale, ask the salesperson to be plugged in and ready to try when you go pick it up. This way, you can check if it boots into Windows, run CrystalDiskInfo to see if your hard drive is still in good condition, and make sure it doesn’t stink of smoke (seriously – it’s more common than you think). If your PC doesn’t have a hard drive – it’s not uncommon for companies to destroy it for safety reasons before disposing of your PC – check to see if it boots into the BIOS, or take a flash drive with the Windows installer and see if that turns into that. If everything looks reliable, you can take it home and start working on your updates.

Online sales like eBay do, however, offer buyer protection which comes in handy if you receive a defective item. Craigslist usually has no option for this, so you’ll need to weigh your risk tolerance against your budget and start there.

What to look for

As with any PC, it helps you plan things before you actually go shopping. (We’ll assume you already have a general idea of ​​what goes into building a gaming PC – if not, you should definitely check out our building PC guide first.) Set your budget, think about which parts of the computer will fit in with it, and then start hunting. My goal was to build something for as little as $ 100 (because hey, I like challenges), but I’ll break down the parts in a few different price ranges for those with more to spend.

The tower

PC tower

You basically saved that poor PC tower from endless running of Excel. Whitson Gordon

There are several different types of office computers, but Dell Optiplex is one of the more common and I recommend it for this conversion. If you can find a Lenovo, HP or Compaq machine with similar specs at a good price, you can use them as well, but they are a bit harder to get. You’re looking for something that ideally has a 2nd Gen Intel Core i5 processor (where the four-digit number after the i5 starts at 2) or later – the i3 can help you, but avoid Core 2 Quad and other lower-end processors if you can.

These office computers also come in various forms. I recommend buying a larger “mini-tower” instead of one of the smaller, thinner machines – it will be easier for you to match your graphics card, power supply and other upgrades. If you can find a small kit for a price that is too good to go without, it will work, but you’ll have to either buy low-profile graphics cards or insert it into the case using a PCI-express riser card.

Finally, think about your upgrade plans for this machine. If you’re just building a cheap PC that will keep you going until you build new high-end hardware in a matter of months, you don’t have to worry too much about compatibility with future updates. But if you plan on adding a little more power to this version, you can narrow down your search to models that use the standard 24-pin motherboard power socket. Some of these office computers use a smaller, custom 8-pin power connector, which means you won’t be able to upgrade the power supply in the future. This isn’t strictly necessary – many people will find the included PSU and low-power graphics card I’ll be using here – but it’s fun to have an option in the future. (There are 8-pin to 24-pin adapters,but I am reluctant to use such power supplies as many of them are cheap or improperly made.)

It sounds like a lot of caveats, but by browsing the shelves at the e-waste center (or pictures on Craigslist), you’ll be able to spot these things fairly quickly. I found a few competitors in the San Diego area where I live, but ultimately chose a Craigs Listed Dell Optiplex 9010 that met all my requirements for just $ 50. It didn’t have a hard drive, but even with that caveat it was the best deal I could find – the hard drive is quite a cheap add-on.

Remember, patience is key – you may not find a killer deal tonight, tomorrow, or even next week, but if you monitor and negotiate closely, you will eventually find the perfect system at an unbeatable price.

The graphics card

Graphics card on a wooden table

Remember, patience is key – you may not find a killer deal tonight, tomorrow, or even next week, but if you monitor and negotiate closely, you will eventually find the perfect system at an unbeatable price.

For browsing, working from home, and remote schooling

While we find many differences in quality and performance when reviewing laptops, desktops are much easier to compare, and similar features are more likely to deliver similar performance. Plus, you can choose your own screen, and replacing the included keyboard and mouse is inexpensive and easy if you want something better.

These entry-level desktops are best suited for basic PC activities such as browsing the web, editing documents and spreadsheets, and playing basic games like Minecraft. But they can’t play more challenging modern games; if you want to do this, you’ll need to spend a little extra on a basic gaming desktop.

With all this in mind, we’ve collected a few desktops that meet our recommended specs, are good value for money, and come from trusted manufacturers. But we didn’t test these models. If you have any problems with your new desktop computer, please return it and let us know your impressions. 2

HP Slim Desktop (S01-pF1025se)

HP Slim Desktop (S01-pF1025se.

Recommended configuration

Editor: Intel Core i3-10100 Storage: 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD
Graphics: Intel UHD 630 graphics card Dimensions: 11.9 by 10.6 by 3.7 inches
Memory: 8 GB Wireless: Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2
Front ports: Four USB Type-A 3.0 ports, headset, SD card reader Rear ports: HDMI, VGA, four USB Type A 2.0 ports, audio input, Gigabit Ethernet, audio

Why We Like This PC: The HP Slim Desktop is fast enough to meet the needs of most people, is relatively inexpensive, and takes up less space than full-size desktops. The S01-pF1025se can handle web browsing, documents and spreadsheets, multimedia streaming, zoom calls, DVD burning and even light gaming. If you want to spend a little more on a faster PC, we also recommend the S01-pF1048xt version, which has a faster CPU, double the memory, and more solid-state memory.

As a small form factor computer, the HP Slim Desktop takes up less space than the medium-sized towers that are common in this price range. But it has less room for a later upgrade – if that’s important to you, consider a mid-tower system like the Acer Aspire TC or Dell Inspiron Desktop instead. Also, note that the HP Slim Desktop 180W AC Adapter will not support the dedicated graphics card added later – if you plan on playing more demanding games, check out the types of beginner games below.

Acer Aspire TC-875-UR13

Acer Aspire TC-875-UR13 desktop computer.

Recommended configuration

Editor: Intel Core i5-10400 Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Intel UHD 630 graphics card Dimensions: 13.4 by 13.8 by 6.4 inches
Memory: 8 GB Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1
Front ports: SD card reader, headphones, microphone, one USB Type-A 3.0, one USB Type-C Rear ports: Two HDMI, four USB Type-A 3.0, two USB Type-A 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, audio

For basic gaming

If you want a gaming PC, usually your best (and coolest) option is to build one yourself. But the constant shortage of graphics cards has made it difficult to buy virtually any modern graphics card, and the cards you can find for sale are much more expensive than normal. The easiest way to get a GPU now is to get a ready-made gaming PC, as big companies like Dell and HP are buying in bulk and now have a much easier time getting GPUs.

If you, or someone you share your desktop with, wants to play computer games from time to time, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to play those games on reasonable settings. For around $ 200 more than you’ll pay for any of the entry-level desktops listed above, you can purchase a decent entry-level gaming PC that will also be better at running photo and video editing applications, working in 3D modeling software, and connecting to multiple monitors simultaneously . Compared to an inexpensive gaming laptop, these desktops are usually a bit cheaper and faster, and if you go for one of these systems, you won’t have to endure the average screen of an inexpensive laptop, moaning fans, excess heat, or the lack of expandability.

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop TG01-1070m

HP Pavilion Gaming TG01-1070m Desktop PC

Recommended configuration

Editor: AMD Ryzen 5 4600G Storage: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super
(6 GB)
Dimensions: 13.3 by 6.1 by 11.4 inches
Memory: 8 GB Wireless: Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5
Front ports: Four USB Type-A 3.0, one USB Type-C, SD card reader, headset Rear ports: 1 Four USB Type A 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, audio

1 The video outputs of the gaming computer depend on the graphics card installed. Most include at least one HDMI port and one DisplayPort output.

Why we like this one: The HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop TG01-1070m takes everything we like from the HP Slim Desktop design and adds a dedicated graphics card, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super. (As a result, it’s also about 2.5 inches wider and a bit taller and deeper.) This card may not run every game at the higher resolutions and maximum settings, but it should allow you to play most games at 1080p and medium to high settings for the next time several years and is enough to power the virtual reality goggles. It’s also a good step over the GTX 1650 GPUs found in most gaming PCs at this price. You should spend $ 20 to upgrade to a 400W PSU, so you have some reserve to upgrade your graphics card in a few years.

Due to the same chip shortage that affects GPUs, we have noticed that computers with AMD Ryzen processors are sold out more often than models with Intel processors. If the TG01-1070m is unavailable, the HP Envy Desktop TE01-1165t includes an Intel Core i5 processor and a GTX 1650 GPU, which are good enough for most games.

Acer Nitro 50 N50-610-UR14

Acer Nitro 50 N50-610-UR14 desktop computer.

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G | GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060 | RAM: 16 GB DDR4 (2 x 8 GB) | Memory: 1 TB SSD | Weight: 28.35 pounds | Size: 6.5 “x 16.61” x 17.05 “(W x D x H)

SkyTech Shadow 3.0

Best Budget PC for 1440p Gaming

SkyTech 3.0 shadow

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16 GB DDR4 (3000 MHz) | Storage: 1 TB PCIe SSD | Weight: 33.2 pounds | Size: 8.3 “x 17.9” ​​x 16.4 “(W x D x H)

The Nvidia RTX 3060 is a great partner for 1440p gaming, but unfortunately it’s hard to get your hands on directly from retailers. But if you’re looking for an entire PC that can bring you great 1440p gaming then SkyTech Shadow 3.0 is a great option.

This computer is quite well equipped, it boasts an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor combined with 16 GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 3000 MHz. This is definitely enough power to keep your system running smoothly. Consider the RTX 3060 and you’ll be playing against the best of them. The CPU may not be up to 300fps in 1080p and the graphics card may not do much better at 4K, but it will provide a great balance at 1440p resulting in high graphics quality and smooth frames for a great gaming experience.

NZXT BLD Starter Pro

Best Budget Gaming PC for Esports

NZXT BLD Starter Pro

Processor: Intel Core i5-10400F | GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060 | RAM: 16 GB DDR4 (3000 MHz) | Storage: 1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD | Size: 7.91 “x 16.85” x 18.11 “(W x D x H)

NZXT’s BLD Starter Pro not only gives you a powerful machine, it also simplifies the process of getting a computer that will give you the performance you want. With the BLD NZXT series, you’ll be able to see the frame rates you can expect from your pre-built system based on your hardware configuration. You no longer have to wonder if one CPU and another GPU will combine to deliver a steady 144fps in Fortnite at 1080p (Hint: this version in Fortnite is 168fps).

The NZXT BLD Starter Pro is equipped with an Intel Core i5-11400F processor – a true mid-range champion – and an Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card. This can handle all but the most demanding games and should provide sufficient performance at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. There’s also 1TB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage for a fast-access game library. Another great thing about BLD NZXT systems is that the company explicitly lists the branded components used, giving you a clear idea of ​​what’s to come in the build. What’s more, it’s all in the NZXT H510 chassis – a compact version of one of our favorite mid tower PC cases.

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16 GB DDR4 (3000 MHz) | Storage: 1 TB PCIe SSD | Weight: 33.2 pounds | Size: 8.3 “x 17.9” ​​x 16.4 “(W x D x H)

Things To Consider

For $ 500, you’re not aiming for the best PC on the market, but you’re aiming for an entry-level gaming PC that requires the fewest tweaks to experience the latest 1080p builds. Even so, it’s surprising how far the best under $ 500 gaming PC can take you today.

In any case, before you go out and buy an old computer, there are a few factors to consider first.

What To Look For In A Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500

When purchasing computers at the lower end of the scale, it is very important to check the specs first. Whether you’re spending thousands or a few hundred, the last thing we want is to waste cash, and while budgeting is a great way to do it, your computer still needs to be able to run the games of your choice.


The CPU will be mainly responsible for making your overall use snappy. When you’re dealing with off-the-shelf PCs for under $ 500, you can expect to see older CPUs at the forefront, with fewer cores and threads than the more premium options.


Since pre-built gaming PCs under $ 500 fall into the entry-level category, the graphics cards they come with are often older generation cards. These GPUs may struggle to play the latest AAA games at high settings, but work very well with esports titles, especially when playing at 1080p.

Having 8GB of RAM isn’t ideal, but it’s not a major issue either. While we always try to recommend 16GB of RAM, it’s not very realistic with a $ 500 budget. This means that RAM is one area you may want to upgrade in the near future.

Storage Space

When it comes to disk space in $ 500 prefabricated PCs, you’re unlikely to get double storage solutions, but they come with SSDs.

The included SSDs are usually between 240 GB and 500 GB in size and provide enough space for the operating system and your favorite games. If you like to store a lot of media files on your computer, you can buy yourself a hard drive to store them, saving your gaming SSD drive.

Best Gaming PC Under $500 Vs Custom

We always recommend building your own computer here at WePC for one simple reason – value. It’s no secret that when you build your own system, you can squeeze out better hardware for the money as prefabricated PC overheads usually cost the same as the entire component ($ 100-300).


While the performance of these $ 500 gaming PCs is solid, by building your own, you could theoretically incorporate a better CPU or GPU into your PC without spending more. This means you can get even better performance for your hard-earned money, get better game performance, and secure your investment longer for the future.


The main selling point of a finished gaming PC is that it saves you the hassle. We understand that not everyone knows how to build a computer and may not even have the time to learn this new skill, so the convenience of the finished version makes a lot of sense. Of course, there are many other benefits to purchasing a pre-built gaming PC from manufacturers, of course, it takes the stress out of finding all compatible components, and also prevents these components from being damaged when it’s time to build them.

With one of these gaming PCs, you’ll be able to send it back to the manufacturer if something goes wrong. Moreover, if you think you need an upgrade, vendors will often do it for you, or at least insist you send it to them for the upgrade. Manufacturers also give out a warranty, usually for parts and labor for around a year, but some companies offer impressive warranties and you can always issue extra insurance, giving you a long / lifetime warranty.

If you’re using a smaller computer, you’ll need a low-profile card – the NVIDIA GT 1030 is popular and is somewhere in between the two cards above for power. Its market price is around $ 50 for the cheaper models, but you can get it cheaper if you are patient and buy locally.

Optional upgrades

If you’ve got some spare cash, you can make a few changes to this setup to make it even better.

Graphics card – AMD RX 5600 XT 6GB

GPU: Navi 14 | Cores: 2304
For another $ 70 on top of the RX 5500 XT’s price, you can pick up the next Navi graphics card, the 5600 XT, which is capable of extending into 1440p gaming as well.

Storage – 1TB WD Blue NVMe SSD

Socket: NVMe | Speed: 2400 MB / S
For an additional $ 60 instead of a 1TB hard drive, you can opt for a 1TB NVMe SSD with read / write speeds over 15x faster. It only takes a few minutes to learn how to install an SSD and your PC will thank you for it.


no setup is truly complete without a good set of peripherals, whether it’s the best affordable gaming headset, grabbing the best discount gaming mouse, or putting your fingertips on the best gaming keyboard for those on the hunt for a good deal. Who knows, if you’re thrifty enough, you might have enough money to buy the best computer speakers.

best cheap gaming pc – prebuilt

Want the convenience of a finished PC to avoid having to learn how to install a graphics card or how to install a power supply, but still don’t want to break the bank? You can buy some pretty similarly configured prepackaged kits for as little as an extra $ 100 / £ 150 or more. The US and UK PCs listed here share the same RX 5500 XT graphics card and 8GB of RAM from our version, plus a better 12-thread AMD Ryzen 5 3600 chip – perfect for gaming and productivity tasks.

If you’re in the United States, you can purchase the finished Ibuypower product for $ 749. In addition to the specifications above, it comes with a 240GB SSD for storage. Windows 10 comes preinstalled, so you don’t have to worry about looking for a Windows 10 key anymore.

UK customers can buy a finished Palicomp computer for £ 769. It comes with a 1TB hard drive for storage and pre-installed Windows 10. You can save £ 60 if you already have a Windows 10 key and want to install it yourself, which is a simple task. As a bonus, the CPU is also cooled by the best AIO cooler, so you can learn how to overclock your CPU for even more power.

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Updated: January 24, 2022

When he’s not browsing Amazon, raging over stocks of graphics cards in search of his scruffy gear – doesn’t look good for a hardware developer – you can find him on a mountain bike or playing your current favorites: Forza Horizon 4, CS: GO, and Microsoft Flight Simulator.

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